Events in North Carolina

Jason Frye
| April 29, 2024 | 4 Minute Read
Illustration of landmarks in North Carolina Adam Grason

Discover festivals, food and fun in the Tar Heel State this summer.

If fireworks set your eyes sparkling, make your way to the Outer Banks for Independence Day. From Corolla to the villages of Hatteras Island, there are fireworks shows that will dazzle and delight. In Corolla, camp out on the events lawn at Whalehead mansion to take in evening views of the Currituck Beach Lighthouse and the evening’s fireworks display. From Avalon Pier in Kill Devil Hills, Nags Head Fishing Pier in south Nags Head, Avon Fishing Pier in the Hatteras Island village of Avon and the events lawn at Roanoke Island Festival Park, you can take in a bright and booming show.

Multiple fireworks explode and light up the nighttime sky. iStock

For a truly memorable Independence Day, set up your chairs at the top of Jockey’s Ridge to take in two shows: Manteo’s fireworks soaring over Roanoke Sound and Nags Head Fishing Pier’s fireworks flying high over the ocean.

Calendar of Events

There’s plenty to do in North Carolina! Take a look at some of our favorite events going on across the state.

May 4
Taylorsville Apple Blossom Festival
This family-friendly spring festival returns to Taylorsville in celebration of the first apple blossoms of the year. Enjoy live music, arts and crafts from local vendors, and plenty of kids’ and family-focused activities. Free.

May 9
Nate Bargatze: The Be Funny Tour 2024
Nate Bargatze brings his wry humor to Asheville at Harrah’s Cherokee Center for one night of hilarity delivered in the signature dry, clean, relatable style that’s helped propel this Tennessee native to stardom. (For AAA Member-exclusive discounts on comedy shows and more, visit

May 11–12
2024 MCAS Cherry Point Air Show
The U.S. Navy Blue Angels, the world-renowned aviation aerobatic team, will thrill crowds with daring stunts and feats of flying at the MCAS Cherry Point Air Show. Historic and modern aircraft—civilian and military—will be on display on the ground and in the air. 

May 12–19
North Carolina Plein Air Art Festival
This eight-day festival brings 35 nationally and globally recognized plein air artists to New Bern to “paint the town.” Workshops, demonstrations, art displays and sales of plein air works take place all across town. Free.

May 22
Pinball Tournament
Boxcar Bar + Arcade plays host to a monthly pinball tournament in their Durham location. On the fourth Wednesday of the month, the Triangle Pinball Players welcomes pinball wizards to step up and show their skills. Prizes awarded to the top three players. Entry free for first-timers, $1 for return players.

May 25–Aug. 17
Unto These Hills
Experience the story of the Cherokee people at this moving outdoor drama at an amphitheater in the Smoky Mountains. Unto These Hills tells the story of the Trail of Tears and the brave band of Cherokee Indians who resisted their forcible displacement. Tickets from $15.

May 29–June 1
Cape Fear Blue Marlin Tournament
This catch-and-release fishing tournament celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. The Intracoastal Waterway and Atlantic Ocean will be packed with competitive anglers and their sleek boats as they go after blue marlin, one of the prime billfish in North Carolina’s waters.

May 30–Aug. 24
The Lost Colony
See the story of the ill-fated Lost Colony at this waterside amphitheater on Roanoke Island, only steps from where the story happened. The oldest outdoor drama in North Carolina, The Lost Colony celebrates its 86th season in 2024. Tickets from $25.

June 1
Livermush Festival
Love livermush? Raise a forkful to this acquired taste in Marion with a festival focused on this regional delicacy. Sample various livermush preparations, enter the pig calling or pig squealing contest, or just enjoy the live bluegrass music. Free.

June 1–Aug. 3
Dinosaur World at Sweet Valley Ranch
Watch out, dinosaurs are roaming the woods at Sweet Valley Ranch in Fayetteville. Take part in a “fossil” dig, romp and frolic at the Dino-Playland, and walk the trail where 40 dinosaurs come to life at this family-friendly event running all summer long.

June 14–15
Boonerang Music & Arts Festival
Celebrate all things Boone at this free downtown street festival. Food trucks, streets and tents filled with artists and craftspeople hawking their wares, seven stages of live music and performances, plus a kids’ zone and a silent disco give you plenty of ways to show your love for this mountain town.

June 21–22
NC Rhododendron Festival
Toast Roan Mountain’s huge natural rhododendron gardens at this two-day festival that features a pageant, a craft fair, food vendors, a classic car show and more. The year 2024 marks the 77th anniversary of the festival. Free.

July 4
4th at the Fort
In Fayetteville, celebrate our nation’s independence at the largest military base in the U.S.: Fort Liberty (formerly Fort Bragg). In addition to fireworks and fair food, enjoy demonstrations of military equipment and maneuvers, and a free concert.

July 4
North Carolina 4th of July Festival
Southport is home to one of the largest Independence Day festivals in the state. At Fort Johnston, watch as newly minted Americans take their oaths of citizenship and then watch the parade go by on Moore and Howe streets. Finish the day with a street fair and fireworks.

July 4 and 6
Festival for the Eno
A juried craft show, more than 60 musical acts, an international food court and plenty of water activities celebrate all things Eno River at West Point on the Eno in Durham.

July 6 and 27, Aug. 10 and 24
West Fork Recreational Flow Releases
When High Falls Dam releases water from Lake Glenville into the Tuckasegee River, massive rapids—up to Class IV—are formed over a 5.5-mile stretch, and experienced whitewater kayakers, paddleboarders and thrill-seekers take to the water to challenge these annual rapids. Note: This event is for experienced whitewater boaters only.

July 19
Symphony by the Lake at Chetola
Pack a picnic and head to Blowing Rock’s Chetola Resort for an evening of symphonic and orchestral music. Music begins at 5:30 p.m. with the Symphony of the Mountains’ performance at 7:30 p.m. And there’s a fireworks finale. Tickets for general admission are $65, and tickets for the audiophile section are $125.

July 20
Dillsboro Art Walk
Dillsboro’s annual art walk taps into the creative spirit of the community with a street fair full of music and dancers, vendors, and fair food, but the stars of the show are the galleries, shops and booths full of fine art, pottery, traditional crafts and plenty of surprises.

July 25
C’sar the Elephant’s 50th Birthday Party
C’sar—the oldest male African elephant in North America—cordially invites you to the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro for his 50th birthday bash. An elephant-sized cake, an elephant-sized card to sign and other giant activities will help you and C’sar celebrate in style.

July 25–28
GalaxyCon Raleigh
This four-day festival of pop culture, superheroes, anime, comics, science fiction and more is back with a huge floor show as well as opportunities to meet the people behind beloved comics and stories, take part in cosplay contests, and gather with other fervent fans.

A closeup of a musician playing a fiddle. Diana Gates Photography

Aug. 1–3
97th Annual Mountain Dance and Folk Festival
Bluegrass, old-time and mountain music fill the air in Asheville as folk musicians and dancers from across the southern Appalachians perform and preserve traditional songs, dance and storytelling. 

Aug. 1–4
AVL Fest 2024
Asheville’s diverse music and arts scene is on display as concert halls, clubs and outdoor venues play host to artists and performers from Asheville, nearby and across the nation. 

Aug. 2–3
Mount Mitchell Arts & Crafts Fair
In Burnsville, one of the oldest crafts fairs in the Blue Ridge Mountains welcomes more than 200 artists and crafters. In addition to the fine art and handmade wares for sale, enjoy bluegrass music, food trucks, dancing and more.

Aug. 8–11
OUTSOUTH Queer Film Festival
The second-largest LGBTQ+ film festival in the Southeast returns to Durham’s Carolina Theatre with a full slate of feature films, documentaries, shorts and talks with filmmakers.

Aug. 10 and Sept. 14
Rockin’ the Burg Community Concert Series
Harrisburg Park hosts several free, family-friendly outdoor concerts throughout summer on the second Saturday of May, June, August, September and October. Shows are from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and feature fun cover bands and local acts, local food trucks, and more.

Aug. 30–Sept. 2
North Carolina Apple Festival
On Labor Day weekend, head to Hendersonville where a four-day festival of apples unfolds. A street fair with free concerts, apple-themed activities and events for the family; plenty of orchards with apples to buy; and the King Apple Parade will make this festival an annual event for your family.

Sept. 5–7
Hopscotch Music Festival
The 14th annual Hopscotch Music Festival—consistently named one of the country’s can’t-miss indie music festivals—brings interesting and innovative musicians, from international stars to the next great indie band, to Raleigh for concerts, listening parties and must-see shows. 

Sept. 6–14
Cabarrus County Fair
Come one, come all to the Cabarrus County Fair, where you’ll see amazing animals, from racing pigs to high-flying dogs; sing like a rock star at an elaborate karaoke experience; and enjoy all the music, food, crafts, rides and family fun a county fair can offer.

Sept. 23–29
Mayberry Days
Andy Griffith’s hometown of Mount Airy turns into the fictional and beloved Mayberry as fans of The Andy Griffith Show come to town. Ride in the Mayberry squad car, watch the parade, get a haircut at Floyd’s Barber Shop and indulge in a few pork chop sandwiches while you immerse yourself in the world of Griffith’s Mayberry.

Sept. 26–29
Benson Mule Days
This family-friendly festival celebrates the humble mule and its contributions to North Carolina agriculture with a parade of mules, horses, buggies and more; carnival rides; mule-powered pulling contests; and a street fair complete with bluegrass music, fair food, arts and crafts, and plenty of activities for kids and adults.

Sept. 27–29
Annual International Folk Festival
The Arts Council of Fayetteville’s International Folk Festival pays tribute to Cumberland County’s diverse cultural heritage in this three-day festival featuring a Parade of Nations, cultural performances, international cuisine, art, music, dance and more.

Keep reading in:

Other Articles You May Like